FACT CHECK: Did Benjamin Franklin Say This Quote About Avoiding Tyranny?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims that founding father Benjamin Franklin once said, “A Nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved; it is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Franklin authored this saying. It was actually written by author Henry Stuber.

Fact Check:

This quote has been circulating online for years. The attribution to Franklin, however, is incorrect. There is no record of him ever making this statement, and it appears nowhere in his collected works.

Carla Mulford, a historian and Franklin expert at Penn State University told The Daily Caller that the statement “has a particularly contemporary ring and is nothing like anything Franklin would have said.”

It is one of several misattributed sayings that has come to the attention of the Franklin Institute, a science education center founded in his honor; it includes the quote in a list of “7 Things Benjamin Franklin Never Said” on its website. (RELATED: Viral Image Credits Ben Franklin With This Quote On Justice)

Blaine McCormick, a professor at Baylor University and author of “Ben Franklin: America’s Original Entrepreneur,” told the Caller that the quote was actually penned by Stuber as part of an essay discussing Franklin’s life and legacy.

Speaking of Franklin’s efforts to establish a library in Pennsylvania, the essay was published in the July 1790 edition of the publication The Universal Asylum, and Columbian Magazine.

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Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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